The theme of “justice” runs through my work from PhD till now. I am exploring the interfaces between philosophy and anthropology of justice.

In the research toward my Ph.D. I explored the viability of a theory of justice as conceived by John Rawls for considerations of global justice and ethics in international relations. The difficulties encountered here mirror the difficulties encountered by any liberal theory of justice in multi-cultural and multi-national settings.

In my post-doctoral research I investigated challenges from ethnic and religious identity politics to established normative order in India, Israel, Palestine and Turkey. My approach combined a new-institutionalist framework developed by John W. Meyer with approaches to global justice based on the work of John Rawls. My research methodology combined qualitative methods (80 interviews conducted with academics in India, Israel, Palestine and Turkey) and philosophical analysis.

In my research at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (, I looked at the transfer of ideas of nationalism from Europe, particularly Germany and the Hapsburg Domains, into India. My special focus was on Friedrich Schlegel and his deployment of India as part of his project of imagining Germany as the true Oriental self of Europe.

I have written on normative issues in the politics of nationality and multiculturality, as well as on religion-based conceptions of justice (Islam, Hinduism, Christianity) and their relevance to considerations of religious pluralism and toleration. I have also worked on tolerance in the international arena. A special concern here was the promotion of tolerance between Europe and the Muslim world through the engagement of young scholars in mobility programmes sponsored by the German Foreign Office and the German Academic Exchange Service.

In my research at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, I looked at globally hegemonic normative frameworks and their reception, rejection, adaptation or modification in India. Secularism is one such normative framework much debated in modern India, but I am also looking at more general ways in which Indian philosophy, both ancient and modern, has been able to find ways to mediate between the universal and the particular.

At MCPH, I have begun working on justice from an anthropological angle. Here I am looking at the justice system associated with the worship of the devas, daivas and bhutas of Tulunadu (coastal Karnataka, north Kerala). As in the Theyyam cult of neighbouring Kerala, local Bhuta kolas and Daiva nemas are rituals where spirits are being impersonated by human beings who in their state of possession mediate village conflicts and adjudicate crimes.

© 2009 Dr. Michael Dusche :: All rights reserved.